Brunch, snacks, canapés and lunch boxes are covered for the festive season with these gourmet, tangy sausage rolls.

With a history of apple growing dating back further than St. Patrick's Ireland's apples are a thing of legend. Apple tart, apple crumble, roast pork and apple sauce, apples are synonymous with Irish food both savory and sweet.

Bramley apples are an especially distinctive type of apple in that they come into season in October and keep long into the winter making them the perfect cooking apple in the run-up to Christmas. They are known in Ireland, to most, simply as a "cooking apple".

This Christmas, Bord Bia (Ireland's food board) is encouraging people to enjoy this distinctive locally-grown apple in a range of tasty winter-warming meals. Often referred to in Ireland as a “cooking apple”, the Bramley apple’s distinct tart taste and unique fluffy texture make it the ideal ingredient for many sweet and savory dishes.

Cooks find the large size convenient for preparation and their natural sharpness is a great quality, balancing the sweetness of pastry and any added sugar, and the fruit acids help break down the apple during cooking so that it ‘falls’ to produce a unique fluffy purée.

A relatively modern apple dating from the 19th century, it is widely grown but is most strongly associated with Armagh, "The Orchard County", which has a history of apple growing that goes back to St. Patrick and the early monasteries. In fact, William of Orange was among the many with historical references linking apples – and cider – to the area.

Without further ado,  why not impress your loved ones over the Christmas season with this Bramley apple & cheddar sausage rolls recipe.

Bramley apple & cheddar sausage rolls recipe

Serves: 4-6

Substitutes: If you don't have Bramley apples to hand Granny Smiths, Fuji or Winesap will also do.

Ingredients:

- 1 large Bramley apple

- 400g sausage meat

- 1 leek, trimmed and finely chopped

- 50g mature Cheddar cheese, grated

- 1 teasp. chopped fresh thyme

- 1 tablesp. wholegrain mustard

- 1 egg

- 500g packet puff pastry, thawed if frozen

- A little plain flour, for dusting

- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

- Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F), Gas mark 7.

- Trim and dice the leek, core and finely grate the apple and put in a bowl with the sausage meat, leek, Cheddar, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and add the mustard, then mix well. Crack the egg into a small bowl and beat with a pinch of salt.

- Cut the pastry in half and roll out one piece to make a long oblong shape that is 33 x 23cm on a lightly floured surface.

- Form half of the filling into a long log shape and put on the pastry approximately 5mm from the edge. Brush the edges with the beaten egg, then fold the pastry over to enclose the filling and press down the edges to seal, crimping them with your fingers or pressing down with a fork. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients.

-Cut the long sausage rolls into 5cm pieces, trimming down the ends. Brush with the beaten egg and score the tops with a sharp knife, then arrange on non-stick baking parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes until cooked through and lightly golden, swapping the baking sheets halfway through. Arrange on a platter and serve hot or cold.

For more delicious seasonal Bramley apple recipes, visit BordBia.ie.